NEWTON, Kan. (KSNW) — We arrived in downtown Newton around 11:15 a.m. Friday, July 16, and were met by a very welcoming crowd. Thank you!
As in most of Kansas, the area around Newton used to be home to Native Americans. When pioneers moved west, many settlers saw the benefits of the prairie and built their homes there.
The town of Newton was founded in 1871, the year it served as a hub of the Santa Fe Railroad and the end of the Chisholm Trail. The town grew quickly to accommodate all the cowboys driving cattle up from Texas. In addition to the usual saloons and gambling houses, a reporter from Wichita said there were 10 bawdy houses.
That year was also marked by violence. Some called Newton “the most wicked city of the West” because of the gamblers, cowboys, and gunslingers. One of the worst days became known as Bloody Sunday and the Newton Massacre. A shooting in a dance hall left five men dead and three wounded.
When Texas cowboys were finally able to end their cattle drives in Wichita instead of Newton, many of the businesses that catered to them also left.
The town became more peaceful, and it was officially incorporated on Feb. 22, 1872. New businesses arrived, and the town was able to focus on safety and prosperity.
Mennonite immigrants from Germany and Ukraine moved to the area and helped build the town. The area economy now includes agri-business, manufacturing, healthcare, education, and transportation.
The population of Newton is close to 19,000. It is KSN’s Carly Willis’ hometown. Look for big celebrations next year as the town celebrates its 150th anniversary on Feb. 22, 2022.
Things to see around Newton:
- Warkentin House Museum
- Sand Creek Station
- Newton Public Library
- Depot Park
- Carriage Factory Art Gallery
- Sand Creek Trail
- Chisholm Trail Bike Ride
- Blue Sky Sculpture – One of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Art
- Kauffman Museum
- Bethel College Music and Theater
- Newton Community Children’s Choir
- Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra
- Newton Visitor Guide
- Robert W. Regier Art Gallery
Community & Government: